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Power Outage and Emergency Tips

Here are 20 tips to help you cope during power outages and emergencies:


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  1. Check your neighborhood first to see if others are without power. Check the fuse box or electrical panel to see if there is a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
  2. Have a survival kit in place for emergencies. Inform everyone in the family of the kit's whereabouts. Pack a kit that can be easily thrown into your car in the event you need to leave your home. Include cash, (ATM's and banks will not work in a major power outage) basic toiletries, lightweight canned goods and nonperishable food, water, change of clothing, prescriptions, waterproof matches, can opener, pillows, and reflective or "space" blankets. Inflatable mattresses may be a good purchase if you are stuck in a shelter/building without beds.
  3. Be prepared for the worst in a severe emergency or disaster. Expect electric power to be out for several days. In such an event, consider relocating to a shelter or to a friend's home where heat (or air conditioning) and power are available.
  4. Stay clear of fallen or sagging power lines. Call the utility company about the lines. Teach any small children about the hazards of power lines.
  5. Turn off the lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and the freezer. After you have turned off the lights, go back and turn on a single lamp so you will know when the power is working again. Wait at least 15 minutes before turning on the remaining appliances after the power has been restored.
  6. If someone in your home uses a life-support system, purchase a generator or go to a health care facility that has back up power. Homes that use life support equipment should register with the local utility. When they do this, the utility will make them a top priority for power supply repair.
  7. Prepare an emergency plan with your family. Have a meeting place or designated place to stay other than your home.
  8. Prepare yourself and family as if you are going on a camping trip in the wilderness.
  9. Invest in a generator. They are powered by gasoline and can generate carbon monoxide gas, so only use them outdoors where the fumes will not cause illness.
 10. Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed to prevent the loss of cold air. Each time you open the door, you let the cold air out. It is best to get an ice chest full of ice for food storage.
 11. Plan on a fully-loaded refrigerator keeping food fresh for about 6 hours. Remember, keeping the doors closed is a big help in maintaining the food's freshness.
 12. A fully-loaded freezer may keep food frozen for up to two days. If your frozen food contains ice crystals and feels as cold as if refrigerated, you may be able to safely re-freeze. If food is partially thawed it may be best to cook it and refreeze it to avoid throwing it away if not consumed.
 13. Put bags of ice in your refrigerator or ice chest to prevent temperature falling below 45 degrees. If the temperature falls below 45 degrees for more than two hours, remember it's time to throw out the food.
 14. Keep bottled water on hand for emergencies. Bottled water should be stored up both in gallon jugs and small bottles that are easily transportable, if the need arises.
 15. Keep (inexpensive) flashlights and batteries in each room of the house. Place one flashlight with batteries under everyone's bed in the home. This will keep your family from fumbling in the dark!
 16. Antibacterial soap and wet wipes come in handy as hot water may not be available. A box of facial tissue and some paper towels can also become a precious commodity in a power outage.
 17. Buy a solar - or crank generator - radio that works without batteries. Runs without replacing batteries and saves energy!
 18. Use candles sparingly and do not leave unattended.
 19. Purchase an emergency light with an alarm that will notify you of a power outage. Plug into any outlet and if your power goes out it will automatically sound an alarm and provide lighting!
 20. Don't forget the snacks, pet food, favorite kid toys, comfort food, board games, books, playing cards in your survival kit for families.



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Power Outage and Emergency Tips:  Created on October 8th, 2007.  Last Modified on October 8th, 2007


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About Laura Dellutri

Laura Dellutri, The Healthy Housekeeper, is an author, cleaning expert, media personality, and entrepreneur. For more information, visit



Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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